Super Pets Galore – The Super Sons 2017 Annual Is What Annuals Should Be

by James Ferguson

Someone is kidnapping pets in Gotham City. This is the next case that Superboy and Robin are going to check out, but it looks like they’ll be too late. Another dynamic duo has taken it upon themselves to solve it. It’s Krypto and Titus! What better team to find these missing pets than two dogs?

The Super Sons 2017 Annual goes deep into the Super Pets line-up. Not only do we get Krypto and Titus, but we get Bat-Cow, Detective Chimp, Clay Critter, Flexi the Plastic Bird, and even Streaky the Super Cat. Writer Peter J. Tomasi gets us up to speed on the group and why they had a falling out. Thankfully, Detective Chimp can speak, so he explains it all, however that’s one of the few sections of the annual with narration. Since the other animals can’t talk, we see their actions, not their words.

Artist Paul Pelletier excels at this, conveying such emotion and meaning with his images alone. You get an understanding of how long these animals have worked together and the connections they share. Plus, since it’s a Super Sons book, there’s a healthy dose of fun involved. For example, Krypto and Titus go looking for Streaky at a playground. The Super Dog can’t help but play on the merry-go-round at least once. There’s a look of pure joy on his face as the wind pushes his ears back and sends slobber flying out of his open mouth.

These moments contrast nicely with the memories of the past and what tore apart the Super Pets. These are presented like faded photographs, colored brilliantly by Hi-Fi. Again, all of this is presented with little to no dialogue. We get an immediate sense of what they went through.

Jon and Damian are still very much included in this comic, although the focus is primarily on the Super Pets. They set the stage with a great opening scene where they stop a bank robbery. The dynamic between the two boys never fails to disappoint. This scene has Jon jumping into action saying he can handle this because he’s “SuperbAARR.” He gets cut off because he’s hit by a car. Damian cannot let that go and pokes fun at him non-stop. As revenge, Jon scarfs down a pair of kebabs a kind cart owner offers to them without sharing. It’s this kind of competitive camaraderie that makes the pair work so well and makes for such an enjoyable read.

My only criticism of this dynamic is that there’s a line that appears to be directly lifted from the movie Trolls. I know this because my kids have been watching it on a loop since it hit Netflix. It’s a great fit for the characters, so I’m forgiving of it. Plus, Jon has probably watched that movie.

The Super Sons 2017 Annual is a shining example of what annuals should be. It’s a fun, epic story done in one shot that doesn’t necessarily fit within the overall plot line of the ongoing series. The tale still deserves to be told, as it only adds to the history of these characters. Where else are you going to get a comic that features Flexi, the Plastic Bird?

Super Sons 2017 Annual is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.